New research carried out by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour has found that four out of five hospitals in England do not have enough maternity staff. Across the 99 Trusts that provided information, there was a total shortage of 561 midwives.
The Royal College of Midwives have said that they believe many senior staff members are avoiding carrying out staffing assessments because they know that they ‘cannot afford to plug the gaps’ that would be exposed. This is corroborated by the revelation that 24.2% of trusts had not made any calculations of their maternity staffing needs within the last 4 years. Even more worryingly is the fact that 9% had made no calculations for at least 10 years despite the birth-rate increasing by a quarter over this period. The Royal College estimates that an additional 4,800 midwives are needed in the NHS.
Speaking about the high number of unfilled midwife vacancies, the Chief Executive of the College said she believes that it is ‘a recipe for disaster and can only have a disastrous impact on staff morale, burnout and sickness rates, which only make maternity services even more short-staffed.”
End of Life Care ‘lottery’ Condemned by Hospital Inspector
Professor Mike Richards, the country’s leading hospital inspector, has this week announced plans for a National review of end of life care after finding a ‘huge number of inequalities’ in treatments for cancer, heart disease and dementia sufferers. The current care on offer has been described as a ‘lottery’, varying depending on the patient’s location, disease and place of care. Professor Richards revealed that care providers in the South East and North West currently perform better than elsewhere in regards to end of life services. It was found that hospitals lagged quite a bit behind care homes and hospices in regards to care delivered to patients in their final few weeks of life.
Research shows that families who have lost relatives to cancer have been far more satisfied with the care provided than families who have lost relatives to other diseases. Concerns have arisen over the administration of pain relief, patients not being treated with dignity or their wishes to die at home being ignored. Professor Richards called the care variations ‘unacceptable’ and said that it was not just about geographical variation but about “examining what the barriers to good care are for all types of patients with all sorts of backgrounds or diagnoses.”